We were bound to see it sooner or later. What more perfect, Marinersiest time to do it than in a start where James Paxton is as dominant as can be?
He went 7 innings of shutout ball, leaving with what you’d assume to be a comfortable 2-0 lead. It sounds like every Felix start from 2010-2013 (ESPECIALLY against the A’s). But, unlike most Felix starts, Paxton did something so remarkable the King hasn’t even reached this height: he struck out 16 batters. And he did it while only throwing 105 pitches! He sprinkled in 5 hits and a walk, but was otherwise as dominant as can be. In that respect, it was very much in line with a Classic Felix start.
As was the way the bullpen decided to shit all over it.
Again, it was bound to happen. After some struggles through the first two weeks, Juan Nicasio racked up 7 consecutive scoreless appearances, looking better and better each time out. So, giving up a 1-out, 2-run, game-tying homer to the best hitter on the A’s, Jed Lowrie (who, not for nothing, ALWAYS kills the Mariners for some reason) is something I’m willing to forgive. Of course, had I been watching the game last night, I might’ve thought differently, and flown into a rage on Twitter the likes of which … would’ve made no difference whatsoever.
Then, I mean come on, what more does Edwin Diaz have to do? He gave up 1 inconsequential run in his first 15 appearances, going 12/12 in save opportunities (and winning the April Relief Pitcher of the Month). In a tie game, in the top of the 9th inning, at home (where – at that point – it’s impossible to save your closer for a save opportunity in that game), with some very capable boppers coming up in the bottom of the 9th, OF COURSE you use your best reliever in that situation! The sooner we get people out of the mindset that you can only use your closer in save situations, the sooner I’ll be saved from having to read all the idiots complaining to the beat writers about why they put Edwin Diaz in there in a tie game. THINK ABOUT IT! ASSHOLES!
So, anyway, yeah, I’m willing to forgive Diaz too. It sucks that we lost, it sucks that a peach of a start was ruined, but it’s what the Mariners do. Not for nothing, but it’s what a lot of other teams do too.
Also not for nothing, there is NO WAY I’m bringing Paxton out there for the 8th. He threw 105 pitches! Nicaso and Diaz have been amazing this year! AND, oh by the way, Paxton is constantly getting injured. Why would you risk that? When you’re up 2-0, at home, with your best relievers set to lock it down … no. Just no. Scott Servais does plenty of things I disagree with, but this is far from one of them.
I’m more concerned about why the offense couldn’t do more than they did against a guy making his first start in the Major Leagues in 2018. I know Brett Anderson is a veteran, but our offense has been on fire! Eventually, we’re going to need to get some actual production out of our catcher and left field positions. Cruz and Segura can’t do fucking everything!
If this turns into a trend, then we have a serious problem. But, for now, let’s see how it plays out. The A’s stole one that the Mariners should’ve won; maybe the M’s can do the opposite tonight. Wade LeBlanc gets the nod against the best starter on the Athletics, Sean Manaea. We’ve already seen this Manaea guy once this year; he went 7 innings and gave up 1 run in an A’s victory. 4 out of his 6 appearances against Seattle in his brief 3-year career have been quality starts, so obviously he’s not intimidated by our Mariners-ness. Let’s change that tonight, huh?